Chicken Katsu Curry – Sounds Naughtily Calorific but Isn’t!Course: MainCuisine: AsianDifficulty: Reasonably easy
Someone once told me that the chicken katsu curry in Wagamama is a) the most popular dish and b) very calorific at 1147 calories per portion. This definitely put me off ordering one despite the fact that the combo of crispy breaded chicken and lashing of curry sauce is lipsmackingly good. But, all is not lost. I’ve discovered a make-at-home healthier chicken katsu curry that tastes really good and is less than half the calories. Crushed almonds are used to coat the chicken, which is then baked. If you don’t have any almonds to hand, Panko breadcrumbs are a good substitute. You can cook the rice from scratch but I’m a fan of microwave rice which always comes out perfectly (unlike my last attempt at boiling some grains that had a very soggy outcome).
25g flaked almonds (or 25g Panko breadcrumbs)
1 tsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 300g/11oz total)
lime wedges, for squeezing over
For the sauce
2 tsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp medium curry powder
1 star anise
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp plain wholemeal flour
400ml chicken stock (or water)
For the rice
100g long-grain brown rice (or a microwave pack)
2 spring onions, finely sliced (include the green part)
For the salad
1 medium carrot, peeled into long strips with a vegetable peeler
⅓ cucumber, peeled into long strips with a vegetable peeler
1 small red chilli, finely chopped (deseeded if you don’t like it too hot)
Juice ½ lime
Small handful mint leaves
Small handful coriander leaves
- Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Cook the brown rice in plenty of boiling water for 35 mins or until very tender (or pop it in the microwave at the end of the chicken’s cooking time).
- Crush the almonds using a pestle and mortar, or blitz in a food processor until finely chopped, then sprinkle over a plate. Grease a small baking tray with a little of the oil. Bash the chicken fillets with a rolling pin between two sheets of baking paper or clingfilm so they are flattened to an even thickness. Brush the chicken on both sides with the remaining oil and season well. Coat the chicken with the nuts or Panko breadcrumbs and place on the tray. Press any remaining nuts/breadcrumbs from the plate onto each breast. Bake for 20 mins or until browned and cooked through. Rest for 4-5 mins on the tray, then slice thickly.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a medium non-stick saucepan and gently cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 1 minute. Stir in the curry powder, star anise, turmeric, a few grinds of black pepper and the flour. After a minute, gradually add the chicken stock to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally until thickened. Blitz the sauce in a blender to make it smoother if you’d like.
- Toss the carrot and cucumber with the chilli, lime juice and herbs. Divide the rice between two plates and sprinkle over the spring onion. Add the sliced chicken and pour over the sauce. Serve with the salad and some lime wedges.
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